May 13, 2012
• Championship Central | Photo Gallery
MADISON, Wis. -- The Wisconsin women followed a familiar script on the final day of the 2012 Big Ten Outdoor Championships at the McClimon Complex, but they also had the opportunity to do so in a familiar setting.
Success in the field events powered the Badgers to a fifth-place finish in front of a crowd of 3,294 fans that crammed into the McClimon Complex.
UW finished with 78 points to secure fifth, while Ohio State nabbed the title with 117 points and Illinois and Nebraska tied for second with 110.
“First of all, it was a great meet across the board. The awesome weather and the fantastic crowd we had played into it being a phenomenal meet,” UW head coach Jim Stintzi said.
“Our kids loved competing in front of the hometown crowd and I really think it helped us compete at a higher level.”
Helping to push the Badgers to their total was senior Monika Jakutyte's podium finish in the high jump.
Jakutyte took the bronze medal with a clearance of 5 feet, 10 3/4 inches to match her lifetime-best mark in the event.
"Obviously I was going for first, but third place is good," said Jakutyte, who claimed the Big Ten indoor title as a junior in 2011.
The senior has enough experience to know that the performance can be a step to bigger things in the coming weeks.
"All I needed was one more jump and I would have had 6 feet," she said. "Going into regionals and nationals, I feel good.
"I feel like I'm back where I should be."
Less than a day removed from winning silver in the heptathlon, junior Dorcas Akinniyi was back at it, joining Jakutyte in the high jump.
The junior matched Jakutyte on her first attempt to clear 5-10 3/4. With that height, Akinniyi took fourth for the Badgers, picking up essential points for her team as well as notching up two spots on the Wisconsin performance list to the No. 4 all-time mark.
Together with her heptathlon finish, Akinniyi tallied 13 points for the Badgers on the weekend.
Senior Jordan Helgren picked up a point with an eighth-place finish in the triple jump, leaping for a mark of 41 feet, 8 inches.
The throwing duo of freshman Kelsey Card and junior Taylor Smith were back in the discus to tally up more points for the Badgers.
Card threw for 175 feet, 6 inches to take fifth place. Smith followed in fourth with a mark of 172-8.
On the track, the Badgers had two athletes in Sunday's finals.
Sophomore Liga Blyholder ran for a personal best in the 1500 meters, triming down her lifetime-best time by two seconds. She took fifth with a time of 4 minutes, 19.65 minutes.
Junior Brittney Harper picked up the Badgers' other points on the track in the 800 meters. Harper ran a personal-best time of 2:07.83 to take sixth.
Also competiting on the Big Ten's final day of competition was Kyla Chapman, who took 10th in the 5,000 meters by clocking a time of 16:48.95.
In the pole vault, two UW freshmen competed in their first outdoor Big Ten championships.
Jessica Vardas took 15th with a clearance of 11-9 and Courtney Walden matched that vault for a 16th-place in the event.
Back on the track, the Badgers' quartet of Sophie Roth, Deanna Latham, Jessica Flax and Harper pulled together to run the No. 5 time in school history with their peformance of 3:43.36, taking ninth in the event.
"I think it was a good meet for us," Stintzi said. "We really maximized what we had out there. Obviously we want to continue to get better, but considering some of the limitations we have with our roster in the sprints area, we did a nice job of maximizing."
The Badgers now look ahead to the NCAA West Preliminary Round May 24-26 in Austin, Texas, as they race for a spot in the NCAA outdoor championships.